Home | Contact

The US Review of Books
Criticism should be a casual conversation. -W.H.Auden

The Black Clergy's Misguided Worship Leadership
by Christopher C. Bell, Jr. Ed.D
Trafford Publishing
reviewed by Sandra Shwayder Sanchez

"To be black and accept consciously or unconsciously the image of God as a white man is the highest possible form of self-negation and lack of self respect..."

This book took great courage and deep insight to write. For readers interested in the causes and consequences of racism in our country, as well as for those interested in the history of the development of Christian doctrines and practice, this is an important and enlightening book. The author points out that Jesus the prophet who preached to not perpetuate hostility with anger but to love and forgive, who taught not to hoard but to share wealth, and not to abandon but to care about others, did not, in fact, found the Catholic church.

It was the Roman Emperor Constantine who founded the one universal church of Rome, motivated by a desire to dominate the people of his empire. The author calls this "Constantine certified Christianity" and recommends a new form of Christianity that involves a concept of God that is not restricted to a race and gender specific anthropomorphic entity. Rather he recommends worship of God as the source and sustainer of all life—a universal source of life energy that we all share equally—so that we can all view ourselves and each other with equal respect, regardless of color or gender. He in no way disparages Jesus who would still be honored as a good and gifted teacher.

The author also addresses how this business of worshipping a white male affects relationships between black men and women. Women of all colors will be inspired to consider how the worship of a male figure has affected their lives these past two millennia. For anyone concerned about how religion could and should better motivate everyone to be all that they can be and to make this a better world for all of us, equally, this is a must read—whatever your race, gender or ethnicity.

The book may be purchased at Amazon or by going to DRCCBELL BOOKS

“Dr. Chris Bell has written several compelling books based on his knowledge as an educator and his experience in the military. He is an intellectual with convincing arguments about how to improve life for African Americans. I've read all his books and attended his lectures. I'm also a participant of A Dialog on Race and Ethnicity which he facilitates, which leads us into great conversations.” January 18, 2012 by Joyce Dowling, Internet Consultant for Unitarian Universalists, Dowling Web Consulting & Training on LinkedIn.com

“The Black Clergy's Misguided Worship Leadership, by Dr. Christopher C. Bell, Jr” Oct 22, 2010 by Angie Bee Productions on YouTube (watch the video).

"Author Says: 'Jesus Worship' Emasculates and Devalues Black Manhood: New Controversial Book Explains Why and How" by BlackNews.com: "'Jesus worship' is equivalent to 'white male worship,' and it is detrimental to the mental and emotional health of black people and emasculating and devaluing to black manhood," argues Dr. Christopher C. Bell Jr. in his book, The Black Clergy's Misguided Worship Leadership. In this book, Dr. Bell cites cogent educational and behavioral reasons to explain why and how the glorification and worship of the ancient, Roman-made, white male, Christian idol, Jesus Christ is not only idolatrous, but that such worship subliminally makes black people complicit in their own psychological oppression."

"The Black Clergy's Misguided Worship Leadership: Petition: No More Idol Gods For Black People" reviewed by Robert Fleming on AALBC.com The #1 Site for African American Literature With this defiant publication, The Black Clergy's Misguided Worship Leadership, Dr. Christopher C. Bell, Jr. states his position that white idols have inflicted Blacks with "debilitating white superiority syndrome," adding an element of insidious "emotional emasculation" of Black men in an unfeeling American society. For Dr. Bell, he sees the detrimental effect upon our young males, who act out in negative ways of delinquencies, violence, and crime leading to prison.

Framed as petition with supporting research, Dr. Bell implores the Black Church in this book to stop the worship of a white Jesus Christ, a blue-eyed and blonde deity resembling the actor Jeffrey Hunter or Max Von Sydow. The worship of a white idol stresses the traditional superiority of whites and promotes the notion that God is a white male, according to the author. He sees the open-minded innocence of Black children soaking up into their little minds, absorbing all the tenets of white racism, white privilege, and white supremacy.

Historically, Dr. Bell understands the Black Church is the spiritual cornerstone of wisdom, protest, affirmation, and theological awareness. Understanding this fact, he calls for the religious enlightenment of Black people, feeling the instruction of "a new version of Christianity" would spiritually benefit the souls of young Black men and women. Given the bad behaviors and criminal situations epidemic in this society, he knows that the church's teaching can foster a safety net of support and uplift, self-appreciation, and psychological freedom from the deadly white superiority syndrome.

With this book, Dr. Bell feels it is time to speak the truth, based on his own observations and reflections from Dr. Frances Welsing (The Isis Papers), Jawanza Kunjufu (Adam, Where Are You?), Carter G. Woodson (The Mis-Education of the Negro), Na'im Akbar (Chains and Psychological Slavery) and several European educators and academics. The evidence supporting the theories of this book is confirmed for the most part by both Black and white experts alike. However, Dr. Bell frequently hammers those cogent points home time and time again, saying their themes repeatedly as if he wants to make sure that we, as the readers, are taking him seriously.

Some of the most controversial aspects of Dr. Bell's teachings go to the heart of the power of the Black Church, to the nexus of the esteemed institution. He wants the church to rise and awake to its purpose as an agency of instruction, as a means to cope, adapt, and succeed. The repudiation of myths and superstitions found in the Bible, the author writes, will be difficult to eradicate, such as the concept of virgin births, rising from the dead, ascension to heaven, and walking on water. He realizes it is the magic and spectacle of religion which often attracts the convert to it, the idea of something bigger than human.

Gleaned from a 2006 meeting of the Maryland Prince George's County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the original petition, from which the book was taken in part, was the brainchild of scholars, clergy, faith leaders, psychologists, and sociologists. They agreed that the goal of Black man should toss the shackles of his mind and achieve psychological freedom and respect, and authentic manhood.

Dr. Bell writes of the idea of mental salvation: "Black people must look critically at themselves and be honest with what they find"The Black Man must conquer his fear of the white man, which means the Black Man must conquer this fear of death.?

Generally, the Black Clergy's response has been lukewarm with some outright resistance. Many ministers and bishops do not want to break with the white religious traditions and fear a loss of prestige, income, and influence. Also, they fear reprisals from other Christians. With that said, the teachings of the Black Church, once revolutionary and now mercenary, will continue to feed white idol worship, leading Black adolescents, especially young Black males, to a diminished sense of self-worth, and lack of motivation in academics, career achievements, and wealth.

All in all, this is a provocative, insightful book with many controversial social and religious theories. It has been conceived to inspire thought and possible action. Hope springs eternal but the Black Church will not change easily.

"The Black Clergy's Misguided Worship Leadership: Petition: No More Idol Gods For Black People" reviewed by Robert Fleming comments on Tri-StateDefenderOnline.com: I'm surprised that all of the thousands of "whoop and holler" blacks in Memphis would allow this to appear in the TSD. (ha ha) Which is right on the money in many ways, but doesn't go far enough. And there is not enough space here for me to jump into it with all four feet, here. But, then, Dr. Martin Luther King also differs greatly on much of the usual beliefs and practices of blacks, and Bible folks period. With me on the same page with King and Bell, with much more to add. Which I often do in many of my newsletters and talks from place to place. Including my opposition to Jesus being anymore than a prophet and a brother to all of us, and nothing higher than that. And you want hear me EVER talking about the Trinity. And NEVER even entering a church that has a white Jesus inside, because that's an represents a lie. For Jesus was a dark-skinned black man. With me also often emphasizing that the Bible includes truths, myths and lies in it, including the false 6,000 years ago Adam and Eve story. Because there have been black people in Africa for about two to four MILLION years. With blacks having even been in Australia (the Aborigines) for well over 50,000 years. Lastly, due to space, black preachers need to make MANY changes in this "White Christianity" that THEY (not me) are brainwashing black folks with. Including, their wrongful act of influencing all of these fools that attend their churches to PAY them for them telling them about God. --- Rev. George Brooks of Murfreesboro, TN.

This is very thought provoking. Im puzzled and at the same time inspired. I have been a Christian for the best part of three years. Just from life experience I have known of many brothers. Who have got into trouble with the law. And have many other problems, too. There has to be some truth in Dr Christopher C Bell Jr, book. How you remove Jesus Christ from saviour of the world. To just a prophet leaves little to the imagination. Im still thinking about the subject. Very, very interesting. - Mark Hull
Home | Biography | Books | Lectures | Contact
Site developed by Dowling Web Design